• Louise Roke

The Highs and Lows of Lockdown

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

New Zealand has been in the envious position of having a great leader Jacinda Ardern who didn't need to shout, puff her chest out, rant and rave nor loudly pronounce she was the one holding authority. She listened, and listened again, she relied on the experts advice in their specialists fields and considered and reconsidered and asked for more, more up to date information, more stories of what was happening, more conversations with the people affected, more statistics on what was happening globally and with that information she made decisions. Sometimes being a great leader this is the hardest thing to do but it is also the most rewarding; knowing you have done everything possible and believe that the decision you have made is the right one. Doesn't matter if you are running a household, a business or in her case a country as well.

She reached out to all people no matter who they were, not for recognition but to offer compassion. She gave the nation a couple of really clear and concise instructions and the two outstanding ones that resonanted across the world and hit home for all us Kiwis was she asked was us to be kind to each other and to work together. To get through this to save lives and to come out stronger than maybe the rest of the world would. We took it on board and embraced it and hankered down.

Kiwis really are incredible you will always find one in the most bizarre places. Look for instance at Jenny the nurse from Invercargill who happened to be the bedside nurse when Borris the UK PM was in critical care. It was lovely seeing her parents being interviewed on the TV and then Jenny herself talk about what her and other emergency workers were going through and how she appreciated how Borris particularly mentioned her but in true Kiwi style she reminded everyone of all her colleagues who are working tirelessly and in fact decided to go back to England to assist them.

In my own bubble we have had every generation. Two households blended bubbles for support. It consisted of my nearly 97 year old father with short term memory issues who was driving me crazy with his kindness which was towards the cats. Every day we had to tip out big bowls of white liquid and then buy copious amounts of replacement milk as it was scattered around the house for the cats. Needless to say we then had another problem it coming out the other end of them... I also felt sorry for him as his usual stimulation of going to his club which does lots of singing, crosswords, indoor golf and other games 3 times a week of course is canned so we went to the park once a day. On numerous days his wonderful carer came to play cards and read old fashioned stories while we worked.

Some lows were judgement that happened out and about; one guy nearly ranted at dad about why was he in the local park and shouldn't he be at home (I'm sure the guy that said it was over 70; well if he wasn't he bloody well looked like it). Dad crossed his eyes and made a buggsy look that's when you put your top teeth over your bottom lip and then lift your top lip up; making you look like some one who doesn't know what day it was. This is the other misconception that people have; just because someone has short term memory doesn't mean that they can't have a conversation and real decent ones about any subject. It just means sometimes when you have a cup of tea over that conversation they may want another 5 minutes later. It also doesn't mean that you lose your sense of humour. Every case is different of course. Some people in society thought that carers shouldn't be allowed to go around as emergency workers.... maybe some of those people should turn up to the people who need care..there are so many people living in such stressful situations caring for others that the last thing they need is judgement.

Then we have our gorgeous grand baby our two year old (he will be celebrating his 2nd birthday in level 3 lock down so quite an historic moment) and is missing his friends at day care and has been keeping us all occupied. My daughter late 20s and her husband early 30s have been juggling working from home. She a teacher and him in IT juggling work with baby at home. They started each morning off with an hour walk which usually ended up at some sort of water and reserve area; just reminding us all how very very lucky we are to live in the North Shore. I often joined them on this ritual and the stillness and peacefulness was wonderful.

We also have in our bubble a lovely young lady from Oman, she has lived with us for about 8 months and is studying in NZ. Her whole world has been changed as she was into her year of study and now has remained isolated and cut off. She has her own entrance and area of the house but we catch up a few times a week. I was taking her out for walks with my dad but then she had to self isolate in her own area as her friend had a terrible thing happen...her father died back in Oman so she went to stay with her and help her get a plane back.

The highs have been the quietness, the creativity, the reflection on things that have been and where they are going, the walks and smiles, seeing the world recover, the birds, watching people out and about with their children, no traffic, the linkedon post I commented on which resulted in the tv crew turning up to film dad on Anzac day as he walked to the driveway, the zoom meetings with people that I wouldn't have got to know....

The lows of course are the uncertainties for a large number of people, the loss of jobs, the domestic violence that would be going on, the deaths and sickness, the stress for single parents, the small business heartaches, the overcrowding and divorce rates....but I think more good in some strange way will come out of this as we now understand how precious life is and how important it is to really help each other and our local community, our nation first and foremost who have made this place what it is and the people truly do have a remarkable spirit.... maybe all you need is love!

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